Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite




When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…


This book has been nominated for a Women’s Prize for Fiction.

I had really high hopes for this book after initially seeing it on Netgalley months before its release and was then lucky enough to win a copy from Reader’s First. I was excited because it sounds both violent and witty, not to mention it was written by a black female author!

It took me over a month to read this book because it didn’t end up being what I was hoping for and so I put it down to read other things on my Kindle. When I eventually did get around to finishing this off, I managed to get it read in less than 24 hours, purely because the chapters were so short, sometimes less than 1 page!

While I didn’t hate this book, I felt really disappointed by it too. I was expecting something violent, the book does have the words “serial killer” in the title so I think that’s a fair assumption! Unfortunately, I felt this book was rather tame, which I’m fine with if that’s the vibe of the story, but this one is about a serial killer. Maybe I should have read some other reviews of this before I dived in because many people mention this point.

Another frustration I had with this novel was the beautiful-girl-ugly-girl trope. I’ve never met a woman who was so stunningly beautiful that everyone simply fell at her feet (and I’ve met some really beautiful people) but apparently they exist everywhere in the bookish world. I’m fed up of reading about these woman who get everything and then her lesser friend (or sister in this case), who is the plain “ugly” one who compares herself all the time. I feel like that plot point wasn’t necessary and some other method could have been used to make this more of an interesting story.

As for the story, it lacked, in my opinion. Maybe because I was expecting more of a thriller but it felt to me like half a book. There was very little character development and the motive behind Ayoola being a killer? Tenuous. We were given a reason but it probably would have been better if no reason was given at all, at least that would leave some mystery.

What I did like about this book was its wit. There is no doubt that Braithwaite is a funny woman and knows her stuff about satirical comedy. There were several times in this book where I laughed out loud! I also think Braithwaite is a good writer, there was never a time reading this where I stumbled over a sentence or thought a better word or description could have been used.

On one hand, I enjoyed this book because it was funny, well written and a snappy book to get through, on the other hand, I was really disappointed by the cosiness of the story and the cliches. This is definitely splitting audiences, lots of people love it and lots of others just think it’s ok. It’s one of those books I’d definitely recommend reading if you’re interested enough, but just know… it’s not a thriller.

*Buy it here: Amazon UK | Book Depository | Wordery

I won this book in a Reader’s First prize draw.

*affiliate link

14 Replies to “Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite”

  1. I really enjoyed this but I totally understand where it would have been a letdown if you’d been expecting a thriller. Admittedly I found Braithwaite’s take on the ‘beautiful woman’ trope to be interesting – while it wasn’t necessarily a subversion of the trope, I saw it more as a tool being used to explore the ways in which society treats women different based on appearance. The whole thing had a bit of an allegorical feel to it for me… but I really don’t think it’s being marketed particularly well! If I hadn’t read other reviews beforehand I would have been expecting something totally different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this! I think I would have far preferred this if I’d gone in knowing it was more of a domestic/family relationship story 🤷🏻‍♀️ I agree, I don’t think it’s being marketed particularly well but hopefully reviews point readers like me in the right direction!!

      Liked by 1 person

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